Since their conception, e-cigarettes have been touted as a safe way for smokers to kick the unhealthy habit. The medical community has questioned how safe they truly are, noting the unsafe chemicals that users are still inhaling when they “vape.” But now, a study reveals that e-cigs may actually make it harder for smokers to quit, rather than help.
Published online in the American Journal of Public Health, the UC San Diego School of Medicine study followed 1,000 smokers for a year. They found that contrary to what they — and pretty much every else — assumed, smokers using e-cigarettes were less successful in quitting. In fact, e-cigarette users were 49 percent less likely to cut back on cigarette use, and 59 percent less likely to quit, compared to smokers who never switched to electronic.
“We need further studies to answer why they cannot quit,” said Wael Al-Delaimy, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego. “One hypothesis is that smokers are receiving an increase in nicotine dose by using e-cigarettes.” Although e-cigs are applauded for their lack of tobacco, the mixture of questionable compounds and particles they do contain usually include aerosolized nicotine, according to a release from the UC San Diego Health System.
To add to the alarming e-cig news, The Washington Post reported this week that the number of middle school and high school students using e-cigarettes has tripled from 2013-2014. In fact, they’re smoking more e-cigs than they are regular ones.
While many may argue that e-cigarettes are at least safer than regular ones, there is still a lot of misinformation out there for consumers trying to make the healthier choice. Obviously the healthiest thing is to quit using both, and now that we know e-cigs may hinder the end goal, consumers can make a better educated choice.